Friday, April 1, 2011

Craft Fairs in the Bay Area

Hello all! I hope everyone is having a lovely week. We’re having some gorgeous spring weather in the bay area these last few days. . . Which gets me thinking about all of the great arts and crafts fairs that will soon be filling my calendar! In what will be a monthly feature on this blog, I will be bringing all of you crafty folk an extensive update on upcoming craft fairs and shows, prospective selling venues for all of us. I am open to questions or suggestions as well. If there is a certain geographic area, price-point, style, or type of fair you would like to hear more about you can email me directly at
With that said, let me begin! Firstly, I know the question that goes through many people’s heads when they want to start selling at craft fairs is usually “How do I find out about them?!” Well, first, read this blog on the first of every month =), and secondly, my number one recommendation is get yourself on some mailing lists! Join local arts and crafts groups! Join Etsy street teams, if you’re an Etsy member. Mostly, just connect with people. You will soon find that you have WAY too many fairs to consider doing all of them, even if you cut yourself in two (or had someone else working for you.) 
I am here to help you with that though, and to help you find these websites and groups. I’ll start with a list of websites and then I’ll let you know about some upcoming craft fair application deadlines.
These production companies are all good places to go looking for craft fairs:
1. Eckerstrom Productions - this company puts together mostly outdoor fairs that run the  price range of $200 to $400 for a booth. 

2. Steven Restivo Event Services - mostly outdoor fairs, some two day ones, at least $300 for most booths.

3. Pacific Fine Arts - this is a fantastic organization because they work REALLY hard to keep all imported work out of the fairs (which, we all know you just can’t compete with price wise). You have to be a member to apply for many of their fairs, but there are a handful every year that ANYONE can apply to.

4. Another Bullwinkle Show - these fairs are more affordable, running from $100 to $175. They are mostly single day fairs, whereas many of the other fairs put on by the above companies are two day events, meaning more time and opportunities for sales!!

Now, that may seem very general and broad-based, but I wanted to give all of you a running start for planning your year. Many craft fair deadlines for April, May, June, and July have already passed, but many fairs do accept late submissions, and some are still accepting!

On to specific fairs and how to contact:

*THE BIG ONE!!!! The Renegade Craft fair in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Event center is on July 9th and 10th. The deadline to apply is TODAY! The cost is $400 for a 10 by 10 booth, and, is well worth it. This has got to be one of the most heavily attended fairs in the bay area. Period. 
*The Berkeley Marina Fourth of July Celebration - This is a great one and it’s outdoors. The cost is only $100 if you submit your application by May 1st. This is put on by Another Bullwinkle Show.
* The San Carlos Art and Wine Festival - This one is put on by Pacific Fine Arts and is $245 plus a 10% commission, and is a two day fair, October 8th and 9th. This one’s a little further in the future, with an application deadline of June 13th.
All of the above fairs and fees offer you a 10 by 10 booth and the opportunity to connect with hundreds, if not thousands of people. The price to play can be a bit steep, but I have found over the years, that it is almost always well worth it. Writing that check in the beginning may be painful, but when you come home with 10 times that amount in sales at the end of the fair, you’ll be glad you did it!
But I wasn’t always selling at theses larger events, I started at smaller ones as well. . . Good places to look for these include:

Indie Mart - The organizer, Kelly Malone, is fantastic and she only charges $90 to sell at her fairs. You get a 6-foot long table space for this bargain rate.

* Neighborhood street fairs! These are great. One that I highly recommend is the Temescal Street Fair in Oakland. This event is happening on the 5th this year and is $125 to have a full booth at. Deadline to apply is May 8th.

The Berkeley Earth Day’s Fair’s deadline is TODAY. This is organized by the same lovely lady who organizes the Temescal street fair. The fee is only $75 for a 10 by 10 booth. If you sell any handmade goods that emphasize re-used, re-purposed, or re-cycled materials, this is a great one! (I wasn’t going to, but I’m now re-considering applying to this one asap!)

I think I’ll stop there for now before I overwhelm all of you. I hope that was a good breakdown of 1. organizations you can get fair info from, 2. larger, more expensive, but more well-trafficked fairs, and 3. smaller, more affordable fairs for those of us on a smaller budget, or just starting out.
And don’t forget, if going it on you own just seems too daunting, you can always partner up and share a booth with a friend or crafty cohort. Just check with the event organized for their policies on booth sharing.
I hope this gets all of you off to a good start planning for you 2011 craft fair season. Have a lovely Friday!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments, feedback, or suggestions? Let us know here: